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Comcast Prepares "Sweeping" Layoffs at NBCUniversal

By Rich Duprey – Jul 20, 2020 at 10:21AM

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Which division will see the axe fall hardest remains a mystery.

The NBCUniversal division of Comcast (CMCSA -2.77%) is about to suffer substantial layoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to The New York Post. Although the number of workers affected is unknown, sources told the newspaper the job cuts will be "sweeping" and "significant."

The company had warned in April the NBCUniversal unit would experience an even greater impact from the COVID-19 outbreak in the second quarter than it did in the first. Sky, Comcast's European media and entertainment division, was also expected to bear the brunt of the pandemic in Q2. The Post story did not say if Sky employees would be let go as well.

Comcast logo on a TV screen

Image source: Comcast.

Selective declines

In addition to NBCUniversal's media properties, it also owns movie studio Universal Pictures and theme parks under the Universal Studios brand both here and abroad.

While first-quarter revenue fell 7% to $7.7 billion, the hardest-hit units were its film studios, which saw a 22.5% drop in revenue, and theme parks, which declined almost 32% from the year-ago period. Adjusted profits also cratered, plunging 71% and 85%, respectively. Film studios and theme parks were completely shut down by the pandemic.

Conversely, the broadcast network division saw a nearly 9% rise in revenue and a 30% increase in adjusted profits, and though cable network revenue remained essentially flat during the period (adjusted profit dropped 1%), it was able to report a 4.5% rise in cable communications revenue because of increased usage of its high-speed internet services during the lockdown.

NBCUniversal did not respond to the paper's request for a comment on the job cuts.

Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Comcast. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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